The South Africa cybercrimes bill, which was first drafted in 2017, has finally passed consent by parliament. The bill which was passed on December 2, now awaits presidential approval before it becomes law.
As per the latest draft, the cybercrimes bill seeks to criminalize the sharing of nudes without consent from the person featured in the images, crackdown on the sharing of harmful messages and threats through online platforms and tackle other cybercrimes in the country.
“Any communication that contains threats, whether to people or to property, or intimate images of another person can be seen as committing a crime if you send it,” said World Wide Worx CEO Arthur Goldstuck.
If the bill is signed by the president without further changes, any person who discloses a message, sent through an electronic platform, to a single person, group of persons or the public with the intention to incite damage or violence is guilty of an offence.
The cybercrime bill tackles explicitly the issues of leaking nudes. If someone forwards or sends a nude image or video without the consent of the subject in the said media, will be guilty of an offence. The bill describes nudes, referred to as “an intimate image” within the bill, as the depiction of a person (real or simulated) in which they are nude, their genital organs or anal region are exposed, or if they are a female person, transgender person or intersex person, their breasts are displayed.
If anyone wants to press charges for a crime under this new bill, they will have to present screenshots, image files, messaging records, and more as evidence that an offence has been committed. The bill also imposes obligations on service providers and financial institutions to assist in the investigation of cybercrimes.